Special Offer

$5,000 discount for charters departing before May 1, 2021 (aboard the Vision only)

Galapagos Private Journey

Exploring Darwin’s Islands aboard the Passion or the Vision

Note: This trip must start on a Saturday

Overview

The Galápagos Islands are truly “a world unto themselves,” as Darwin wrote. Aboard your own private yacht with a naturalist guide, set off into Darwin’s world for an active journey full of nature hikes, snorkeling, and wonder. Abundant marine life makes for fantastic snorkeling, and swimming with playful sea lions is an experience you’ll never forget! In the evenings, enjoy a delicious dinner as you discuss the experiences of the day with your naturalist and enjoy the beauty of the star-filled equatorial night. Wilderness Travel Private Journeys are designed for people who want to travel with their own small private group, but who still want to experience the same superb itinerary design, great accommodations, and signature quality of Wilderness Travel’s escorted group trips. A Private Journey allows you to choose your own dates and your traveling companions—yet still enjoy a guided adventure.

Itinerary at a Glance

WESTERN ISLANDS ITINERARY

Day 1, Saturday
Baltra Island / Santa Cruz Island: Santa Cruz Highlands / Darwin Station / Puerto Ayora

On arrival at Baltra Island, you are met by your naturalist guide for a drive into the lush Santa Cruz highlands, where you can look for Galápagos tortoises. In the small town of Puerto Ayora, embark aboard the Passion for lunch, then visit the Charles Darwin Research Station’s tortoise-breeding facility.

Day 2, Sunday
Floreana Island: Punta Cormorant / Devil's Crown / Black Beach

Cruise to Floreana for a walk to a salt-water lagoon where elegant pink flamingos wade in the shallows. At Devil’s Crown, enjoy snorkeling with sea turtles and colorful reef fish. In the afternoon, visit Black Beach, with its lava sand and sea lion colony.

Day 3, Monday
Floreana: Post Office Bay / Isabela Island

Explore Floreana’s Post Office Bay, with its historic Post Office Barrel. In the 18th century, sailors left letters here to be posted by passing ships. After the visit, return to the yacht and head out on an afternoon sail to Isabela Island, with a chance of seeing whales or dolphins swimming along with the yacht—a truly serendipitous moment not possible from the larger cruise ships.

Day 4, Tuesday
Isabela Island: Punta Moreno / Urbina Bay

After breakfast, step ashore at Punta Moreno for a walk on a superb broken lava flow surrounded by giant shield volcanoes—some are still active and can put on a quite a show! There are flamingos, gallinules, and ducks in ponds and lagoons here, and you may spot cormorants and Galápagos penguins. After lunch, visit Urbina Bay, with its black sand beach, a nesting site for green sea turtles. Isabela’s Urbina Bay was a site of remarkable tectonic activity in 1954 when miles of coastal seabed was dramatically uplifted 15 feet.

Day 5, Wednesday
Isabela Island: Tagus Cove / Fernandina: Punta Espinosa

Hike at Tagus Cove, once an anchorage for pirate boats, and view the volcanic landscapes of Darwin Volcano and Darwin Lake. Back at the shore, you may see brown noddies, noddy terns, and flightless cormorants. Setting sail at lunchtime, cross Bolivar Channel to Fernandina Island, one of the world’s most unspoiled places, landing at Punta Espinosa, a narrow point of land mostly consisting of lava and sand. It extends out from the base of the Fernandina Volcano, the most active volcano in the Galápagos. At the tip of the point there are very large marine iguanas lounging all over the rocks—the largest marine iguanas in the Galápagos.

Day 6, Thursday
Santiago Island: Puerto Egas / Buccaneers Cove / Espumilla Beach

At Santiago, visit Puerto Egas, a magnificent stretch of coastline that host a great variety of wildlife. Birders may be able see one of Darwin’s finches as well as the endemic Galápagos hawk. Beyond the tidepools, visit the fur seal grotto. North of Espumilla, visit Buccaneers Cove, once a haven for pirates and whalers, and visit idyllic Espumilla Beach, a great place for swimming and snorkeling and an important site for nesting marine turtles.

Day 7, Friday
Santa Cruz Island: Las Bachas / North Seymour Island

Cruise to Santa Cruz Island’s Las Bachas, a major nesting site for green sea turtles, and visit a saline lagoon where flamingos wade. The beach is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. At North Seymour Island, hike among prehistoric-looking marine iguanas as well as a large colony of magnificent frigatebirds

Day 8, Saturday
Mosquera / Baltra Island / Disembark

Visit Mosquera, a small islet that is home to a large sea lion colony. Arrive in Baltra, bid farewell to your naturalist guide and yacht crew, and disembark.

EASTERN ISLANDS ITINERARY

Day 1, Saturday
Baltra Island / Santa Cruz Island: Black Turtle Cove

On arrival at Baltra Island, you are met by your naturalist guide, then will board the yacht in time for lunch on deck. After lunch, navigate a short distance to Black Turtle Cove, a large mangrove lagoon on the north coast of Santa Cruz Island. Pelicans and herons roost on the branches, while marine dwellers such as green sea turtles or golden rays may cruise right next to your Zodiac as it makes its way through the mangroves.

Day 2, Sunday
Tower (Genovesa) Island: Darwin Bay

At remote Genovesa (Tower) Island, enjoy a walk among its huge colony of red-footed boobies perched in palo santo trees. Great frigatebirds are also here, as well as elegant swallow-tailed gulls, Darwin’s famous finches, Galápagos doves, swallow-tailed gulls, and thousands of band-rumped storm petrels that nest in crevices at the cliff’s edge.

Day 3, Monday
Marchena Island / Santiago Island: Sullivan Bay

You'll enjoy two snorkeling sessions this morning around Punta Espejo on Marchena Island. In the afternoon, navigate to Santiago Island, where you will walk the recent lava flows of Sullivan Bay, with their fresh pahoehoe formations. Wildlife seen may include Galápagos penguins and herons.

Day 4, Tuesday
Bartolomé Island / Santa Cruz: Cerro Dragon

A hike to the top of Bartolomé offers breathtaking views of Pinnacle Rock, the Galápagos’ most famous icon, and neighboring Santiago Island. After lunch, head to Santa Cruz Island’s northwest shore, where you can visit a saltwater lagoon with greater flamingos, black-necked stilts, and white-cheeked pintails. Further inland, you will find Cerro Dragon (Dragon Hill), a fantastic land iguana nesting site.

Day 5, Wednesday
Santa Cruz: El Chato Tortoise Reserve

From Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, head up into the highlands and visit El Chato Tortoise Reserve to search for these giant creatures in the wild, then head back to the coast to visit the Charles Darwin Research Station’s tortoise-breeding facility. Established in 1959, the research station works closely with the Galápagos National Park Service to protect the islands.

Day 6, Thursdayy
South Plaza Island / Santa Fe Island

On tiny South Plaza, hike among land iguanas as they nibble on the fruit of prickly pear cactus, and watch huge seagoing marine iguanas roam the shores. Swallow-tailed gulls and red-billed tropicbirds are often found here, too. Explore the white-sand beach on Santa Fe Island, where Galápagos sea lions laze, and keep an eye out for Darwin’s finches and yellow warblers. You will also have The chance to snorkel in the beutiful turquoise waters here.

Day 7, Friday
Espanola Island: Gardner Bay / Punta Suarez

Cruise to Española, the southernmost island in the archipelago, where green sea turtles often rest in the dunes, and Galápagos sea lions, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, Darwin’s finches, and Española’s endemic mockingbird are found. One of the island’s most spectacular birds, the huge waved albatross, with its seven-foot wingspan, nests here from April through December.

Day 8, Saturday
Baltra Island / Disembark

Arrive in Baltra, bid farewell to your naturalist guide and yacht crew, and disembark. En route to the airport, make a short stop at Twin Craters (Los Gemelos), which are in fact not craters but magna domes that have collapsed.

Highlights

Highlights

Swim and snokel with sea lions
Cruise in comfort aboard your own luxury yacht—the ultimate way to go!
Wonderful nature hikes with a superb naturalist guide
See the remarkable wildlife that inspired Darwin

Details

Length: 8 days
Cost From: $43,000  
Arrive: Baltra, Galapagos
Depart: Baltra, Galapagos
Lodging: 8 days/7 nights aboard the yacht
Meals: All meals included aboard yacht plus snacks, water, juices, coffee, and tea as indicated in the Detailed Itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
Activity: Small Boat & Yacht Cruising, Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Walking
Trip Level:

Daily hikes, snorkeling, optional sea kayaking

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